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Anxiety and depression brought me to life in 2020.

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Strap in. Anxiety. Depression. Anxiety. Depression. I'm depressed because I'm anxious, or am I anxious because I'm depressed. Am I even anxious? Why? Everything is fine. Isn't it? Is this my anxiety? What am I feeling? Am I having a heart attack? Am I being attacked? Who's feelings are these? Is this my body? Where am I? I can't breathe. Come back. You're here. You're safe. Breathe. Are you breathing? Have you been breathing? How long have you been holding your breath? Come back. And we're back. Okay. We're breathing. What's next. What do I have to do? What do I need? It's too much. Why is it so much. Everything is a mess. I'm a mess. Is it a mess? This is what you wanted. Why does someone always need something. Why did I say yes when I meant no? How can I get all this done. I'm failing. Oh God I'm a failure. It's too hard. Who's idea was this? Who do you think you are? Who am I kidding. Why is it all so fucking hard. Why does it feel like so much. Is it this hard for everyone else? No. It can't be. Look at them, they definitely know what they're doing. They must have gotten the memo - how did I miss the memo? Will it always be this hard? Why don't I belong. Why doesn't anything ever feel right. Why do I feel like I'm always standing on the outside? How can they be so happy? Will I always struggle? What if it never gets easier? What if I am always drowning? What is the point if feel like I am always drowning? How do they do it? Why can't I? Why do I even exist? What is the point of all of this? What is the point. What is the point. What. Is. The. Point. If I told you that this was my brain - would you believe me? Would you believe that someone who is so seemingly calm on the outside, can be a warzone of chaos on the inside? Would you believe that a high functioning, happy successful person has to constantly, and consistently coach and coax themselves just to get through the facets of every day life - and then some. Even I have a hard time merging who I am on the outside, with the ocean of feelings and depths swirling on the inside. Every turn, bump, and wave threatens to take me under. Even I don't understand how I can feel like so much, and never enough - all in the same breath. It is fucking exhausting. It is soooooo exhausting. I don't want it to be exhausting anymore, and because of that, I've found that at times - I don't even want to be. Knowing what I know, seeing what I see, feeling what I feel, loving myself thoroughly, deeply, and knowing that I am whole, valid, and worthy - it doesn't save me from the all consuming darkness. It has taken a long time to get here, and I am still not exempt. I am the light, I am light. But I see my darkness. I see my darkness, and going forward I vow to honour it. I'm not going to hide it, I'm not going to cover it, I'm not going to push down the rising tides and pretend that my raging depths do not exist. I'm not going to pretend that I don't exist. I'm going to sit with my anxiety, and let it tell me where my soul craves alignment. I'm going to listen to my depression and let it uncover my shadows. I will stay in the darkness. I will allow the space to bring light to what is scary. I will see all that I refuse to see. I will feel all that I fear will crush me. I will not ignore what is, instead I will embrace all that I am. The light, and the dark. And I will love both equally. And I will see the value in the unseen.

And I will let them bring balance to each other. I won't allow myself to feel less than, broken, damaged, or hopeless. I won't. I'm going to sit with my anxiety. I'm going to ask it the hard questions, and not shy away from the discomfort. I'm going to let it breathe truth into me, and give it the freedom to lead me to what feels better. I'm going to listen when it demands boundaries, and when it cries out "no more". I'm going to trust it and give it space to grow me into something beautiful. I'm going to do better, because I deserve better. Because my anxiety demands that I acknowledge that I deserve better. I'm going to listen to my depression. When it tells me all is dark, and hope is gone. I'm going to ask why. I'm going to ask it how. I'm going to dig, and search, and seek out where it hurts. I'm going to give it space to burn, feel, cry, and breathe. I'm going to show it love, hold it tight and tell it that it is worthy of being heard. I'm going to promise to hold the lesson and never let it go. I'm going to validate it all, and honor the new strength and resilience it brought to me. I stopped fighting against the waves drowning me and instead asked to be shown the way; I'm going to give myself time to heal. I'm going to give myself freedom to feel. I'm going to give myself permission to live life fully

- as it was meant to be. Anxiety and depression are teaching me how to live. Anxiety and depression are bringing me back to life. I will no longer allow myself to feel anything less than - and it will all be beautiful.

We will make it beautiful.

If this narrative sounds familiar, if you are seeking to re-frame and learn to love yourself without apologies, you are not alone - reach out. Life is waiting for you, & the time is now. We are stronger together. {All original work and content copyright Stephanie Paulson / Lightwork Empire 2020}

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